Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Thursday conceded that the plague of terrorism was surfacing again in the country and it was “alarming”, but assured the nation that the situation would remain under control.
“The involvement of TTP [Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan] militants in terror activities inside our country should be a matter of concern for Afghanistan and it is dangerous for the regional peace,” the minister said while addressing a news conference in Islamabad.
Sanaullah was referring to a TTP-claimed suicide blast in Quetta’s Baleli area a day earlier in which four people, including a policeman, a woman and her son, embraced martyrdom and more than two dozen others suffered injuries.
After attending a meeting to review the security situation in the country after the Quetta suicide attack, the minister urged the governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, as well as security agencies and authorities, to address the matter of proliferating militancy before the federal government took the issue into its own hands.
“They need to take this situation seriously, and whenever they need the assistance of the federal government and its agencies, we will help them without delay,” he added.
The minister also lamented the absence of K-P Chief Minister Mahmood Khan from a recent security meeting presided over by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
“Political matters aside, we must play our role,” Sanaullah said, highlighting that the State took precedence over political considerations.
He maintained that it was the K-P chief minister’s duty to seek assistance from the federal government and address the issue.
He said the federal government was keeping a check on the security situation across the country and security forces were fully capable of dealing with any challenge.
Sanaullah also criticised PTI chairman and deposed premier Imran Khan for trying “to spread anarchy and chaos” and for repeatedly pushing the country toward uncertainty.
He claimed that “a group led by a ridiculous person was bent upon creating anarchy in the country” and had attempted to destabilise Pakistan.
Sanaullah said the incumbent coalition government would respond according to the Constitution in case the Punjab and K-P assemblies were dissolved before the completion of their terms.
The minister added that the government would review all options in line with the constitutional provisions if the provincial assemblies were dissolved, which might delay the holding of elections or participation in polls for both the legislatures.
“We are not afraid of elections and will participate in them if they are conducted,” he said.
However, Sanaullah emphasised that elections would be held for Punjab and K-P Assembly seats while general polls would be held on time.
The minister told media personnel that the coalition parties would use all the available constitutional options to stop the dissolution of the Punjab and K-P assemblies.
Sanaullah said following the “failure” of the PTI’s long march, the party chief should have accepted defeat, and returned to parliament.
He added that impasses were overcome when politicians sat down together.
The minister gave the example of the incumbent coalition government and highlighted that the various parties had different opinions on several matters but had talked through them.
“However, this man [Imran] has stooped very low. He believes that what he says should be accepted,” he said.
Sanaullah also claimed that the PTI’s plan to dissolve the provincial assemblies of K-P and Punjab was a ploy to trigger a crisis.
He added that if the party did not want to be a part of the “corrupt system”, then it should also “leave the Senate, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the Gilgit-Baltistan assemblies” and ask the president, who belonged to the PTI, to resign.
The minister, citing media reports that the PTI would dissolve assemblies on December 20, questioned why the party was waiting.
He maintained that the former ruling party was jeopardising free and fair elections in the country and that the provinces of K-P and Punjab would not have caretaker governments when the general elections took place.
Sanaullah added that the decision to dissolve the provincial assemblies was “unconstitutional and undemocratic”.(With input from APP)
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